Rich diversity of products to offer:
Lanka - one of top ten tourist destinations
Sri Lanka is one of the top ten tourist destinations in the world as
the country has a rich diversity of products to offer.
Product Manager of Europe’s leading tour operators, Vanessa Devaux
Thomas told Daily News Business that in addition to the country’s
diversity the Sri Lankan hotels offer attractive packages.
Based in France, she said that the introduction of the travel
advisory against Sri Lanka had a negative impact in 2007 with the number
of French arrivals to Colombo dropping by almost 50 per cent.
“However, people have now realized that there is no danger in
visiting Sri Lanka and we expect to bring the highest number of French
tourists this year as business is picking up,” she said.
During her 11-day stay here she visited 77 hotels in Polonnaruwa,
Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Habarana, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Hatton, Uda
Walawa, Kataragama and the Southern coast.
“I was amazed with the natural diversity of Sri Lanka.
The country has very good beaches, boutiques and heritage hotels and
the small guest houses also add value to the country,” she said. This
diversity makes marketing easier as we can offer a wide range of holiday
packages for a cross section of guests,” Thomas said.
However, she said that more emphasis is needed to introduce
airconditioned train carriages to the present destinations.
“Since the rail tracks are there only the carriages have to be
built,” she said.
The Kuoni Travel Group employs over 6,000 staff worldwide and
generates an annual turnover of over 3.4 billion Swiss Francs.
The Kuoni Group manages over 1,300 employees, over 500,000 travellers
to Europe, 450,000 to North America, 38,000 to Africa and 145,000 to the
Indian sub-continent including Sri Lanka every year.
She said that the world’s largest Travel Expo ITB, Berlin next March
would be an ideal opportunity to aggressively market Sri Lanka.
“Its timing suits the booking patterns of European travellers as that
is the time contracts are being signed,” she said.
Commenting on the global travel industry, she said, that the world’s
economic crunch is having a negative impact on it.